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Ancient Treasures, Glittering Temples and Unforgettable Safaris

An Asian River Cruise

Serenely floating along picturesque waterways, surrounded by expansive countryside dotted with historic towns, and only having to unpack once as you explore deeper into the heart of countries, it’s no surprise that river cruising is becoming increasingly popular. The Danube, Rhine, and Seine may be some of the most popular rivers to cruise along closer to home, but further afield, there are some exciting and enchanting rivers to cruise in Asia, offering rare insights into remote rural communities, ancient treasures and glittering temples, and even unforgettable safaris. Here’s our top three rivers to cruise in Asia



Indochina’s longest river, the mighty Mekong, is the beating heart of Southeast Asia, winding 3,000 miles from China, through Burma and into Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. There are two routes to choose: the more adventurous, less frequently travelled Upper Mekong, where northern Thailand converges with Burma and Laos, characterised by lush jungle, mountains shrouded by mist, hill tribes and rice paddies, and the alluring cultural treasure troves of Luang Prabang and Vientiane in Laos; and the more popular Lower Mekong, where travellers discover the delights of Vietnam and Cambodia, particularly Ho Chi Minh City and, of course, the iconic Angkor Wat.


Flowing through Tibet, India and Bangladesh, on a course just shy of 2,000 miles, the stretch of the river in Assam – known for its tea – makes for a memorable river cruise experience, way off the beaten track. This is an unique adventure river cruise on the world’s fastest-moving waterway, where the landscape changes by the hour: sandbanks come and go, water levels visibly rise and fall, and the river is not navigable at night. Highlights of a Brahmaputra river cruise include visiting rural villages seemingly untouched by time, many of which have never met tourists, vast tea plantations, and Kaziranga National Park, best known for its population of Great One Horned Rhinoceros. During the monsoon months of June to September, the river becomes unnavigable as the river swells from 6.2miles wide to over 18!



The Irrawaddy is becoming increasingly popular as Burma (or Myanmar), the new hot spot, opens up more to tourism. Flowing relatively straight north to south through Burma, the Irrawaddy is sometimes referred to as ‘The Road to Mandalay’, after Rudyard Kipling’s famous poem. River life is vibrant, from rare Irrawaddy dolphins to locals producing candy from the sap of toddy palm trees, and the landscape along the riverbanks is dotted with charming villages and thousands of pagodas and stupas, particularly across the plains of Bagan. Popular cruises sail between Mandalay and Yangon (Rangoon), and the best time of year would be between November and March.


Book it

Select Travel Holidays are leading river cruise specialists, with a team of experts who will be able to help you find the right river cruise on the right river for you.